March 28, 2023


Without Art It's Really Boring!!!

Verbal expression of visible artwork | Living It

5 min read

He is a gifted visual artist, but Oliver Lee Jackson possesses the further ability to use language to provide a distinctive viewpoint for observing art. His discourse on what compels him to make offers a further level of knowledge about what artists intend to attain with their particular resourceful responses to the world as they see it. 

That was the circumstance recently when the St. Louis native talked about pick is effective that are at this time on exhibit as element of the programming structured all around The Saint Louis Art Museum presentation of  “Oliver Lee Jackson.” The exhibition is curated by Simon Kelly, curator of modern day and modern day art, and Hannah Klemm, associate curator of fashionable and up to date artwork, alongside with exploration assistant Molly Moog. “Oliver Lee Jackson” is no cost and open up to the general public and will be on check out in Galleries 249 and 257 by way of February 20, 2022. 

In the course of the virtual application that took location by means of Zoom in December, Jackson reviewed some items that spanned much more than five a long time with Harry Cooper, senior curator and head of contemporary artwork at Washington, D.C.’s Countrywide Gallery of Artwork. Jackson’s perform was exhibited at this prestigious nationwide location for much more than five months in 2019. 

The conversation was a master course in artistic intention. 

“In this painting, I wanted it to be lovely – but awful – attractive, but awful,” Jackson claimed even though describing a do the job from his famed Sharpeville Series. “This back again and forth of just the way that the flamelike application of the paint close to the figuration is stunning in alone, but the addition of the figuration adds up to one more figuration and they really should be fairly mixed in terms of encounter.”

The paintings ended up inspired by images of the Sharpeville massacre in1960, when 250 South Africans were being killed or wounded for protesting apartheid non-violently. 

For the viewer – and Jackson counted himself as 1 – his purpose was to unearth a feeling of urgency as viewers grasp the tragic truth that encouraged the artwork. 

 “The feeling of urgency in the paintings that we’ve looked at was essential,” Jackson reported. “This is to make the expertise pretty prosperous in terms of the emotional shifts that the event would crop up for a individual in that predicament – a type of urgency and inner thoughts that retain shifting in many techniques from getting exquisite, determined and solid at the identical time.”

Cooper pointed out Jackson’s propensity for inserting figures in his function that fosters a multiplicity that keeps the viewer engaged – and drawing a new working experience with every viewing – as they moved on to focus on more performs from the exhibition. 

“Personally, I go back and forth and when I’m going through your work,” Cooper mentioned. “ I typically really don’t check out too really hard to come across the figures correct away mainly because there is so considerably to see.” 

“I really do not think that there is ever everything concealed in a painting, but you have to learn it’s vocabulary,” Jackson responded. “Each operate has a form of vocabulary that is determined by the influence of the field you want to pull the viewer.”

He likens his paintings to creating a entire world.  

 “And in this globe, every little thing has to increase the thrust of the get the job done, but belong to that entire world – so that the aesthetics are unable to phase outside of it,” Jackson stated. “ They will need to be beautiful, but the magnificence inside of that distinct modality. It’s building a fluid figuration with a industry.”

Jackson went further as he talked about the approach of producing imagery.

“The term drawing itself is to pull forth an impression,” Jackson explained, “ When you are drawing, you are accomplishing two matters at the same time – you are marking what can be marked to convey forth what can be found. When you are drawing out, you are also marking in. It is an exciting dynamic. You are marking by drawing on it, but at the very same time the marks should convey forth something.” 

Throughout the discuss Cooper and Jackson also stated paintings and sculptures featured in the “Oliver Lee Jackson: Any Eyes” exhibition, curated by his longtime collaborator Diane Roby, which is at this time on screen at the Di Rosa Heart for Up to date Art in Napa Valley, California by way of February 20. 

They also touched upon a hugely own challenge, ‘Dear Pal,’ that Jackson not too long ago created as a tribute to the late composer and Black Artists Team co-founder Julius Hemphill. 

The folio ‘Dear Friend’ was conceived and designed by Jackson and functions sheet new music of Hemphill compositions paired with paintings and drawings that increase visible context to the music.

Hemphill, who was also a co-founder of the acclaimed World Saxophone Quartet, used several decades in St. Louis – where by a imaginative collaboration and friendship was fostered concerning he and Jackson. 

 “I was not making an attempt to have anything at all to do with seeking to attract new music, but seeking to see the romantic relationship – which is so stunning – involving his markings and my markings,” Jackson said of the task. “Each web page will have a experience to it.” 

Jackson insisted upon sharing a Hemphill quote with the audience. 

“I am not an evangelist,” Jackson browse. “I am just a man, striving to steer himself as a result of his very own confusion so that he can talk in a honest voice with other human beings.” 

The words and phrases of the late musical genius are also applicable to Jackson’s artwork – and his means to categorical the pathology powering it. 

“Oliver Lee Jackson,” will be on view in Gallery 249 and Gallery 257 of the Saint Louis Artwork Museum through Feb. 20, 2022. For hrs and extra info, visit

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